Epic Multi-Day Hiking Elopement in the Swiss Alps

Last Updated: April 7, 2024 | Published On: August 12, 2022

J+B chose to plan an elopement in the Swiss Alps after falling in love with the mountains on a previous summer trip across Europe. The two loved to hike, and J was set on getting married somewhere breathtaking. When J reached out to me, she was so excited, because what she envisioned had seemed impossible – getting married high up in the mountains…and I was someone ready to make that happen! We hit it off on their consultation call, so we quickly made things official. 

J+B were planning to elope in just a couple of months, so we got straight to work on picking the perfect location. After they filled out my client location questionnaire, I immediately dove into researching a few spots I thought would fit their vision for adventure, privacy, and being surrounded by a stunning landscape. 

While building J+B’s custom location guide, one spot, in particular, caught my eye. It’s a location that has been on my personal hiking list for years. The entire trail boasts jaw-dropping scenery, glaciers cascading down the mountainsides, and a small alpine lake. J+B were just as excited about this option as I was. Even better, this trail was actually located in an area they had wanted to explore previously but hadn’t gotten a chance to. 

To make things more interesting, J+B decided they also wanted to stay overnight in a mountain hut along the way. This would allow us to have a more relaxed schedule, hike a longer loop, and really soak up the experience.

This multi-day hiking elopement was also featured on Wandering Weddings, which you can check out here.

Elopement Day 1

On the first day of J+B’s elopement, we met at the trailhead in the late afternoon. The weather was humid but sunny. After double-checking that everyone had the gear they needed (don’t forget the wedding attire, vows, and rings!), we were off on the trail. 

Pretty much immediately, we were gaining elevation on a steep, forested path. Switch back after switch back, it just kept going up, in typical alps hiking fashion. We all knew what to expect, and J+B were familiar with it from their previous trip to Switzerland. On the first day, we were to knock out the majority of the elevation gain before checking into a Berghotel (mountain hotel) for the night. 

Along the path, we stopped regularly to rehydrate and soak up the views of the valley that was slowly getting smaller and further away. At one point, we even saw yaks grazing in the high-alpine pastures (a first for me!). 

Staying Overnight at a Berghotel

After a couple of hours of sweating, eventually, our idyllic overnight accommodation came into view. We arrived shortly before dinner, giving us time to check in and cool off. The Berghotel was so cozy. We had all booked double rooms – J+B in one, and myself in the other. One difference between traditional mountain huts and Berghotels is that mountain huts typically only have dormitories to stay in, while Berghotels may have rustic double rooms. Our Berghotel didn’t have electricity, so everything is lit by candle in the evenings. Each room offered a stunning view, I couldn’t stop peering out. Truly, it was unbelievable. The ideal way to escape the noise and just enjoy the peace of the mountains. 

At dinner, everyone staying in the hut sat down in the dining area for a multi-course meal. I couldn’t eat it, due to my extensive food allergies/dietary restrictions (I always pack my own food), but it smelled AMAZING. For starters there was soup and salad, then as the main course, a goulash/stew, and for dessert, meringues. 

It was the perfect warm and filling dinner for a group of tired hikers.

Sunset First Look

J+B love watching the sunset, and so they decided they wanted to do a sunset first look on the first day of their adventure. After dinner, they each got changed into wedding attire. B and I scouted an overlook just above the hut where the two could soak up the last light touching the mountain tops. Once a spot was picked, I went and fetched J. Already, the sky was beginning to glow orange and pink. 

J+B had an emotional first look. I just photographed the evening naturally unfold. They were perfect, just immersing themselves in the moment. I couldn’t help but feel so freaking grateful that this is what I get to help couples do. Have moments like this. We were all totally in awe, watching the mountains turn orange before fading to purple and blue. Dusk had arrived. 

Elopement Stargazing

Because we had clear skies, the three of us agreed to meet at midnight to take a peek at the stars. I also tried to snag a few photos of them and the milky way. Overnight backpacking elopements are the ideal way to go stargazing, since normally it’s not dark enough until 12 a.m. or 1 a.m. to see the brightest stars. On this night, there was almost a new moon, which meant the stars shone brilliantly across the dark sky. 

Elopement Day 2

The second day of J+B’s elopement had a relaxed start. Breakfast was at 7 a.m., so while the two ate and packed up, I snapped some photos around the hut. It felt so nice to bask in the warm morning light peeking over the mountain tops. 

Eventually, it was time to continue our journey. The trail was flatter than the first day, but every bit of uphill still left us winded. Our legs were tired! Every break offered a beautiful view, though, so we couldn’t complain. 

Shortly after 11 a.m, we reached our ceremony destination – a small alpine lake. A few others from the hut were also relaxing by the lake shore. We had all worked up quite the sweat, so to cool off, we dipped into the frigid waters. Despite the icy cold, it felt wonderful. 

By the time we had cooled off and taken a snack break, a number of hikers had left the lake to continue their journey onward. J+B helped one another into their wedding attire while I scoped out the ideal spot to photograph their ceremony. 

Alpine Lake Elopement Ceremony and Portraits

After getting ready, it was time for J+B to exchange vows. Their ceremony was heartfelt as they each shared their love for each other and the hopes they have for the future. I love how personal elopement ceremonies are. It’s my favorite part of every wedding. 

Once the pair had exchanged vows, they took time to pop champagne and share a toast. 

Then, we carved out some portrait time. It’s important to me that an elopement doesn’t feel like an all-day photoshoot. Planning activities throughout your elopement (whether it’s reading letters from home, sharing a toast, hiking, taking a swim, etc.) helps create an experience that I can authentically document. I always work with my couples to designate a portrait time, though, so you can still get some of those beautiful posed photos too (if that’s what you want). 

Post-portrait time, we took another dip in the lake (it was hot out!), before eating our packed lunches. Then, it was time to finish out our loop before descending back into the valley. 

Hiking Back to the Valley

Before going down, we still had a little bit more uphill trail to overcome. The final uphill push offered such a stunning panorama, it made it all worth it, though. Glaciated mountains stretched in a 360-degree view, and waterfalls cascaded down the cliff sides. We crossed small bridges over crystal clear streams between green alpine meadows. Soon, the descent began. 

Down, down, down we went. We saw cows and goats grazing on the mountainsides. Eventually, we were back in the trees, which offered welcome shade. The day was stretching into late afternoon. 

Along the way, we began to chat with another hiker on the trail, who joined us at a mountain hut for cold drinks. J+B said it was their ‘’reception party’’. At the ‘’reception’’’, J and I each ordered a liter of Apfelschorle (sparkling apple juice). The hut owner was surprised and thought we didn’t know how much liquid that was. She tried to convince us to order one to split three ways. We knew what we wanted, though – a liter each! J and I both consumed our drinks within 15 minutes. I can’t say I’d recommend doing that again, but it felt so good in the moment. 

After the rest, we had just a couple of miles left on the trail. Our legs were tired, but our spirits were high. Before we knew it, we were standing back in the parking lot. It was over. 

One married couple, one stoked photographer, and 16+ miles, and 5,000+ feet of elevation gain conquered. One perfect adventure in the alps. 

Thank you J+B for trusting me to document your unforgettable wedding experience. It’s one I’ll never forget. 

Benefits of Planning a Hiking Elopement in the Alps 

If you’ve ever thought about planning a hiking elopement in the alps, or maybe even a backpacking elopement, I have a helpful blog post you can check out here: How to Plan a Hiking Elopement in the Alps. 

I truly believe that the alps are the *best* place to plan a hiking elopement or overnight hiking elopement. Between the extensive trail systems, great mountain transportation like cable cars, mountain huts to dine and sleep in, and the unreal views, you really can’t go wrong. Whether you want to hike 2 miles or 16+, there’s something for everyone.

If you want to have an elopement experience like this, I’d love to help you get started. 

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